Not too long after the Bugout came out, Benchmade released the Bailout — ostensibly this is a bigger, tougher version of the Bugout. If the Bugout is the ideal knife for hiking, the Bailout — well the Bailout is just aggressive as hell.
The Bailout is one of those knives I look at and know it isn’t something I will love for everyday carry, but I can’t get over how great it looks. And then you add in the steel options for this knife, CPM-3V or M4, and it’s a take my money situation.
I’ve been testing this for a bit as my only knife, and I actually really like it, but it is certainly not an everyday knife for me.
The steel itself is a big selling point. While you can customize some Benchmade knives and add the burly M4 steel to them — getting a pocket knife with CPM-3V is decently rare. So when the 3V version with partial serrations went on sale I jumped on it. CPM-3V is a known as a tough steel, and typically found in larger fixed blade knives, I have it in my Bradford Guardian 5.
Here’s the thing about 3V: it’s not really something you want in an everyday knife because it doesn’t hold an edge as well as other steels, and it is not very stainless which is why coatings are applied. But, where it does excel is in being flat out tough. This is a steel made to be abused and it will last.
That is representative of how it performs here. It needs far more touch up, but there’s basically no fear of destroying the blade no matter what stupid you may find yourself getting into.
The blade has two features I generally don’t care for: tanto shape, and partial serration. Let’s talk about partial serration first, it basically means the the back edge of the blade is serrated and thus hard to sharpen and changing how you can and will use the knife. I used to love partially serrated knives, but then slowly avoided them as I got more into knives.
They are not good for most of the tasks I do with knives, but they are very good for general purpose. If you need to cut rope or zip ties (assuming you can slip the blade to get the serrations on it) the serrated bit will make easy work of those tasks. That’s what it is there for, and why a lot of rescue knives will still use serrations because they destroy rope and straps when compared to a standard blade edge — no matter how sharp either are.
The tanto shape then is actually the bigger issue. There are three fundamental facts about tanto blades:
- They look really cool.
- They are super not useful.
- But they stab well.
I find this holds true on the Bailout as well. I had trouble with the blade shape and size throughout my use. It wasn’t ideal for cutting boxes or anything else. But it was awesome for mauling boxes in the garage apart.
The blade also is coated with a gray Cerakote. My last experience with a coated Benchmade blade was not positive, so I was skeptical about how well this one would work. But I shouldn’t have been, this coating is smooth and fantastic. It does not impede blade performance in the slightest and I am huge fan of it. More Cerakote blades please. Love it.
Handle & Use
The handle shape of the knife is slightly divergent from the Bugout, with a great ability to grip the blade, and less likelihood of the handle slipping when stabbing with the blade. I know, I had tons of fun stabbing some dense styrofoam in my garage.
It would be easy to say that in use this is a beefy Bugout, but that’s a false statement. In use this is a blade I have a hard time finding a use for. It’s too big to get to the serrations to unbundle most things tightly tied with a zip tie. The blade is so large, that it’s hard to follow a smooth line to open a box. A tanto shape is shitty for most fine working tasks, and either way the blade is beefy for most fine tasks.
I just don’t have a good use or need for this blade. Put me out in the woods with it, yeah it will perform just fine. But in city life, it will underperform. I really have to say here, this is basically a tactical blade. Know what you are getting here.
The one huge upside to this entire knife is that because it was modeled off the Bugout, it carries extremely well. It is thin, light, and just disappears in your pocket, which is not something you ever really get to say about a knife with a 3.38” blade on it. Kudos, Benchmade.
Overall this is a beefy knife and it is really good. But, it’s not an everyday carry blade, at least not for how I use knives. I guess if you like a large knife that looks tactical and is generally impractical, then this is your knife. Laws permitting.
I’m happy with the partially serrated model, but this will be going into my emergency bag, not something I am likely to ever really carry with me at any time. 3V and that cerakote though, hot stuff.